Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta)
Stranding Location: Apache Pier on Myrtle Beach, SC
Arrival Date: 4/13/2017
Weight: 46 lbs
Marlin was caught on hook-and-line off of Apache Pier on Myrtle Beach and brought onto the beach by the fisherman. South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) was called, and they were able to transport this patient to us quickly!
Marlin arrived lethargic, on the thin side for a loggerhead and had a moderate epibiota (organisms living on the loggerhead’s body) load. Marlin received a physical exam, a blood draw and radiographs. Senior Veterinarian, Dr. Shane Boylan, did an oral exam and found the hook located in the oral cavity; radiographs revealed there was only one hook present. A mild sedative was given, and staff were able to quickly remove the hook using pliers. Once the sedative was reversed, Marlin was set up in a waterbed where he received fluid therapy, vitamins and was given an antibiotic injection. Marlin’s bloodwork results were within a normal range for a loggerhead sea turtle. Since Marlin has a fair amount of epibiota, we are watching him closely for any post-admit issues that would cause large epibiota grow. Epibiota is often found in small amounts on loggerhead sea turtle shells, however a larger-than-usual amount can signal this animal is not in the healthiest of conditions.
March 21, 2017: Marlin was very quiet the first few days after admit and was not interested in food. Now, he is on a weighted diet and is getting diet increases every few days. Marlin receives an antibiotic injection biweekly and has been more active over the last few days! There have been no residual effects from the hook removal. Let’s hope Marlin makes a quick turnaround!
May 5, 2017: Marlin continues to improve and shows no lasting effects from the hook. The large barnacles on his carapace are starting to loosen and fall off on their own. He eats any type of fish we offer, but he is becoming increasingly picky with eating the fish heads! Marlin continues to get an antibiotic injection every three days to fight any infection he may have had or could develop. You’re doing great, Marlin!
May 19, 2017: Marlin is progressing very well. He has finished his antibiotics and shows no lingering effects from the hook-and-line injury. He has quite the appetite and continues to eat any type of fish staff and volunteers offer, which is allowing him to slowly gain weight. He is often seen swimming in his window and interacting with staff, volunteers and guests. He’s definitely a crowd favorite!
June 5, 2017: Marlin has been moved upstairs to the new Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery and appears to be loving his new home! His new tank is located on the first floor of the aquarium, has state of the art filtration and one-way film over the viewing window to minimize any potential stress. Staff has enjoyed seeing this young turtle become more active and energetic over the past couple days. If you take a close look, you may notice there are a few hitchhikers (barnacles) on Marlin’s shell. If you look even more closely, you may see these marine invertebrates use their modified, feathery limbs to capture small particles of food out of the water column. The barnacles are not negatively impacting Marlin but will be gently removed when he is out for treatments. Make sure to stop by and see Marlin next time you are at the aquarium!
June 15, 2017: Marlin is adjusting well to his new tank in Zucker Family Sea Turtle Recovery! Overall, he looks fantastic! Marlin will receive another physical exam and blood draw in the next few weeks- if all goes well, he may be a release candidate.
July 3, 2017: Marlin has come such a long way since arriving at our hospital. His appetite is healthy and he continues to gain weight. He loves getting fish pops and splashing around, making sure we’re plenty busy with drying the floors. Marlin was tagged for release on Tuesday, June 27 and received both Pitt and flipper tags. Marlin isn’t quite ready to head home, but he has taken the next step towards being released!
July 15, 2017: Marlin is gearing up for his big day! He’s going to be released on July 19 at the Isle of Palms County Park. Marlin has come a long way since his journey from Myrtle Beach, SC. He’s gained weight and his hook wound has healed wonderfully. His activity and love for fish pops definitely made him a guest favorite. We’re going to miss his splashy and playful behavior but he’s ready to go back home!
July 19, 2017
Isle of Palms County Park